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Diphtheria
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Diphtheria

Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Bacterial

 

 

Treatment

Diphtheria is a serious illness. Doctors treat it immediately and aggressively with these medications:

  • An antitoxin. After doctors confirm that a person has diphtheria, the infected child or adult receives a special antitoxin. The antitoxin neutralizes the diphtheria toxin already circulating in your body. The antitoxin is injected into a vein (intravenously) or into a muscle (intramuscular injection). But first, doctors may perform skin allergy tests to make sure that the infected person doesn't have an allergy to the antitoxin. Persons who are allergic must be desensitized to the antitoxin first. Doctors accomplish this by giving small doses of the antitoxin initially and then gradually increasing the dosage.

  • Antibiotics. Diphtheria is also treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin. Antibiotics help kill bacteria in the body, clearing up infections. Antibiotics reduce to just a few days the length of time that a person with diphtheria is contagious.

Children and adults who have diphtheria often need to be in the hospital for treatment. They may be isolated in an intensive care unit because diphtheria is very contagious to anyone not immunized against the disease.

Doctors may remove some of the thick, gray covering in the throat if the covering is obstructing breathing.

There may be other complications of diphtheria that need treatment. Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) is treated with medications. In advanced cases, a person with diphtheria may need the assistance of a machine that helps them breathe (ventilator) until the infection is successfully treated.

Preventive treatments
If you've been exposed to a person infected with diphtheria, see a doctor for testing and possible treatment. Your doctor may give you a prescription for antibiotics to help prevent you from getting the infection. You may also need a booster dose of the diphtheria vaccine.

Doctors treat people who are found to be carriers of diphtheria with antibiotics to clear their systems of the bacteria, as well.

Diphtheria > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:21 AM